Thousands of Christians throughout South Africa started embarking on a period of sacrifice today as they observe Lent.
What is Lent?
Lent – originally known in Latin as Quadragesima – is the name of the 40-day period leading up to Holy Thursday, the last Thursday before Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Historically this period would allow for a 40-day fast – with Sundays excluded – in imitation of the so-called Temptation of Christ.
This biblical narrative, which appears in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, tells how Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights in the Judaean Desert, after being baptised by John the Baptist.
On Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Fridays during Lent, adults abstain from eating meat. During these days, it is not acceptable to eat lamb, chicken, beef, pork, ham, deer, and most other meats.
However, eggs, milk, fish, grains, and fruits and vegetables are all allowed. There are exceptions. For example, pregnant women, the ill, the elderly, and the very young are exempt from Lent rules of fasting.
Below are the foods to eat and those to avoid during Lent.
Foods to avoid:
Sweet tooth is not advisable during Lent. Make sure you stay away from desserts like cake, ice cream, pies and cookies as much as possible. Fruits should be your best friend during this period.
Just because Lent is sacred time, you should avoid alcohol. Alcoholic drinks are also additional calories that you don’t really need during fasting. Pressing pause on alcohol could also improve your sleep, skin, and mood - and help you save money at the same time.
You know fast food is bad for you - but it is often the easiest option on busy days. This Lenten season, try replacing fast food with delicious home-cooked meals. If you are on the go, pack a healthy protein bar to reach for instead.
You will already be avoiding meat on Fridays during Lent - and so you might as well do it the entire Lenten season. If giving up all meat is not possible, give up red meat only or limit your meat intake to certain days of the week.
Foods to eat:
Greek yoghurt makes a great base for certain sauces and is a key player in a balanced breakfast. Just one container of this delicious dairy product is packed with a number of grams of protein. Mix it with some fruit and granola in the morning and start your day off on the right foot.
In addition to being an excellent source of protein, eggs can be prepared numerous ways. Whether they are fried with toast, scrambled with cheese, folded in an omelette, or hard-boiled and thrown over a salad, eggs will always leave you energised and satisfied.
This African dish is made with lots of vegetables, spices, and lots of love. A bite of this dish will make a lasting impression for an unforgettable experience.